‘Self’ and ‘Identity’: The Pillars to Live A Life Worth Living!!

The experience of being human is mysterious, exciting and challenging. One lives a pattern of events, feelings, thoughts and choices that differ from those experienced by any other human being. Whereas, one is continuously ‘becoming’, evolving from a simpler version of ‘oneself’ to a more complex version; it’s mystifying, intriguing but nevertheless an experience altogether exciting and compelling.

What Is Self?

When vagaries of life abound, how does one evolve and yet remain the same without disintegrating the core fabric of one’s Self?  ‘Self’ is an ever-changing system of perspectives formed and sustained in communication with others and ourselves; a process of exploration, search and concretization of one’s identity. We all desire for a sense of (core) self, an ‘I’, an independent, autonomous being, free from pressures of conformity – the forces that attempt to dissolve the sense of ‘I’ to align it with the traditional/ typecast mould.

Search for identity is a gruelling task; one that requires courage of assertion, the persistence of a zealot – to carve, maintain and retain one’s identity. The search for identity is equivalent to finding a statement of Motto for one’s endeavours in life. Multiple values, ideologies, principles, beliefs, ethical tones and ‘shoulds’ (protocols) prescribe the template. A clearcut statement of agenda one should espouse is non-existent. Endowed with a mind of one’s own, coupled with the unique experiences one accumulates and unique feelings one possesses, an individual embarks on finding his own meaningful place in the society.

Most of us strive to figure out what one should do (line of career) that is worth its while and engaging. In late adolescence, one tries to fathom the relative importance of feelings, reason, emotion, mood variations, sadness, joy, love etc. In all probability, one is set on the path of crucial questioning when life-turning events put one in a state of melancholy or ecstasy, all of which call for examining yet different facets of the kaleidoscope of life. Troubled with one’s state of mind, with no succour or readymade answers, one may perforce examine one’s baseline beliefs and guiding principles.  The identity of an individual is quite synonymous to one’s core assumptions, beliefs or principles about oneself; equivalent to the academic word ‘paradigm’ – a principle that is sacrosanct – unshakeable.

What Is Identity?

Identity is the essence of what we stand for, what we worked for – our meaningful, identifiable contribution, something by which one is remembered or recalled, a one-word agenda or goal that one may have worked for. No individual wishes to be trapped in mediocrity or to remain obscure. We want to be seen, to stand out, to have the firmness of thought and vision and to be an entity to reckon with.  An individual may not be rich, successful or a shining star in the enormity of the universe, but nevertheless one desires to be distinguished , a separate domain , a distinctive and identifiable unit that is vivid, starkly clear, permanent in nature and pursuit – something that accords a degree of coherence and meaning to one’s life.

End on an inspirational note

We don’t want our descriptions to be hazy, nebulous or to remain nobody’s or non entities; we hate to spend our lives as wasted efforts, or as a rudderless ship. Deep down we want to be towers of strength, with our feet firmly planted in ground and be able to garner an easy recall of ourselves by others – by virtue of our indelible marks of action. At all stages of life these lessons are relevant to evoke deep thought, emotion, and even inner turmoil that each one needs to ponder and resolve.